How to turn the tide: The policy implications emergent from comparing a ‘Post-vernacular’ FLP to a Pro-Gaelic’FLP'

Cassie Smith-Christmas, Sileas NicLeòid

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)
53 Downloads (Pure)


This paper compares the sociolinguistic trajectory of a ‘latent’ speaker mother to that of a ‘new’ speaker mother. Drawing on Shandler (TDR 48(1):19–43, 2004), it introduces the term ‘post-vernacular FLP’ as a means to conceptualise the latent speaker mother’s emblematic use of Gaelic with her child as a ‘seed’ from which language revitalisation can be cultivated, rather than a terminus. The paper discusses how the latent speaker mother’s current ideological landscape in many ways encapsulates the tepidity of the older generation’s ideologies. This contrasts to the new speaker mother, who has undergone the ideological transformation necessary to take an activist stance towards the language and implement a ‘pro-Gaelic’ FLP. The paper then considers the linguistic confidence barrier as described by both mothers, particularly in terms of using child-directed speech in Gaelic, and shows how the new speaker mother overcame this particular barrier. The paper concludes by discussing the policy implications of this analysis, and poses the crucial question: what specific on-the-ground measures can be taken to transform post-vernacular FLPs to pro-Gaelic FLPs?
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-22
Number of pages22
JournalLanguage Policy
Publication statusPublished - 14 Feb 2020


  • Family language policy
  • Post-vernacular
  • New speakers
  • Latent speakers
  • Scottish Gaelic
  • 26ref2021


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